(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Foreign Ministry clarified on Thursday that it has only partially suspended
cooperation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural
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Israel has notified UNESCO that it refuses to cooperate
with the execution of any part of an October 21 decision by its executive board
that stated that two Jewish biblical sites – the Cave of the Patriarchs and
Rachel’s Tomb – were an integral part of the “occupied Palestinian
The board in that same statement also took issue with Israeli
archeological work around the area of the Aksa Mosque and its renovation work on
the ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City.
More broadly, it
attacked Israel for the West Bank security barrier and the continued
restrictions on the flow of goods and people in and out of the Gaza
Strip.Speaking during a lengthy Knesset debate
on Wednesday, Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, “Israel had suspended its cooperation with
That line was later sent to the media by a member of his
But Ayalon’s spokesman later clarified that Ayalon had not meant
that statement to be all inclusive.
Earlier in the Knesset debate, Ayalon
had said that cooperation would be suspended only in “the areas” that related to
the October 21 UNESCO statement.
UNESCO spokeswoman Lucia Iglesias said
that her organization had received no formal notification from Israel of any
suspension of activity.
Meanwhile, Diaspora organizations called on
on Thursday to remove its endorsement from the a World Philosophy Day
planned for Teheran later in November.
UNESCO has sponsored World
Philosophy Day, which brings together leading philosophers from around the world
for a day of debate, since 2002.
The ADL suggested that a parallel event
sponsored by UNESCO could take place in Paris as an alternative to the Teheran
conference.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.